One of Those Days
- Kelly Midkiff Home School Enrichment Magazine
- 2004 31 May
It has been one of those days. You know the kind – my oldest child really needs me right there beside him on the sofa as he does his math. Joshua can't stand the fact that his sister is looking at him. Again. She of course cannot concentrate because Josh is being SO loud when she looks at him. It makes her forget where she is on her copywork assignment. Deep breath Mom. This too shall pass.
"Mom! There's smoke in the kitchen!" yells Abby.
Oh no. Not again. It's not smoke but I almost wish it were. It would break the monotony of this all-too-repeated scenario. Luke has struck again. He has found the bulk container of bread flour and is lovingly "patting" the pile he has made into a smooth mound. And there is flour everywhere – clinging to even the air molecules that surround us. Just give him something else to play with and clean it up. It's not a big deal. I'll ask Shawn if he can think of anywhere to put the flour so that Luke can't get to it again.
We settle back into school work while Luke is engrossed in his plastic dinosaur toys. Aunt Stacey bought him a yard of green fake fur to use as grass with his toy animals and he loves the way it feels beneath his fingers. See? It's fine. We WILL get through today's school work and I will NOT lose my cool. I sit back down beside Oldest Child and we resume the process of dividing fractions. Why can't I remember what an LCM is? Within a few minutes the silence is broken again.
"Mom, I smell something." Joshua is the one with a nose that knows. His face wears the expression that is all too telling. Luke needs a diaper change. I look over towards him—the dinosaurs are grazing alone. He is gone again. I hunt him down to find him in my bedroom with half of his . . . um . . . soiled diaper hanging out of the bottom of his shorts. He holds his hands toward me, face expressionless. I promise myself never to let him eat finger food again. The thought of all those germs under his fingernails . . . well, as I said. No more finger food.
I clean him up and decide he must have a bath. And of course while I do this the older three children have been happily diverted from school for the time being. Does this happen in anyone else's homeschool? If the phone rings or someone knocks on the door they think it's time for recess! I make another mental note: Work on training the children to work while I am out of the room. I bring Luke to the living room to dress, we all re-group with everyone smelling like baby lotion, powder and Lysol. Luke brings me a book and asks for a story. Praise the Lord – he must be tired! Maybe he will fall asleep on my lap! Not a chance. The bath has recharged him. After 3.5 seconds he slides down and takes up where he left off with his dinosaurs. Everyone works silently. But —
Great. I have to go to the bathroom. The Lord should've made mother's bladders a bit larger. I don't have time to go to the bathroom 15 times a day. I slip off of the couch and hope no one will notice me being gone. When I come back I'm holding my breath – then a sigh of relief washes over me. Everyone is still working! Uh-oh. Where is Luke and what is that cloud of white coming from under the piano? Baby powder. Super. It looks and feels just like flour and I forgot to put it away after dousing Luke with it. I sigh again then burst into tears. He has taken my glass of water and decided to make baby powder mud. Luke gets up and gives me a big hug. It doesn't help. I tell myself school is officially out for the day and it's only 9:45 am. I know, I know. We can't do that. We will try again after lunch. This is just too much. Lord! I need you!
If you have a toddler you have probably experienced a few days like this one yourself. If you have a child with a disability, days like this happen repeatedly with no end in sight. It is likely that Luke will repeat at least part of today's scenario many more times within the coming years. Whether faced with developmental challenges or physical ones, having a special needs child in your family homeschool can bring chaos. Sometimes lots of it. Predictability, schedule and boredom are just words on a spelling test and don't exist in your world. And this perk is especially hard on a mom, like me, who thrives on routines and checklists. When faced with days like this one, I am too soon depleted of my store house of grace and patience. So what do I do about it? Well, if I come up with the perfect recipe for banishing lack of grace and peace amidst a chaotic environment I promise to share it. I'd probably make a fortune selling it on Ebay. In the meantime I just make do and muddle through the rest of the day until I have time for some rest and refreshment. When that time comes though there are a few things I always remember to do.
- I tell my husband every little thing that happened during these really bad days. It helps to clear away those feelings of being alone in this struggle and I can be sure he is praying for me with knowledge of what I go through in a given day.
- Sometimes a few days go by until I have a chance to share with him but when I do I am guaranteed empathy. And laughter. It never fails! By the end of narrating a day like today we are always in tears from laughing! I hold onto those moments for the next time chaos strikes. Laughter really does do good like medicine. Seeing the humor in a situation helps me stay calm and keep perspective.
- Pray, pray and PRAY some more! There is nothing like going to the Lord with a burdened heart and pouring it all out at His feet. My burden really is lighter afterwards.
Practically speaking, days like today drive me up a wall. And to be honest with you, I often "lose my cool" when it happens. But then the Holy Spirit reminds me—
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. –Romans 8:28
I have been called according to his purpose to train Luke up in every special way he should go! What an awesome calling! And I am gently reminded too that all things work together for good to them that love God—even baby powder mud-pies in my living room floor.
Kelly is a second generation homeschooler, now teaching her 4 children at home. They are: Austin (10), Joshua (6), Abigail (5) and Luke (almost 3). She loves to quilt when she finds the time after teaching, homemaking, reading, encouraging other homeschool moms, and spending time with her honey of 12 years, Shawn. Their family homepage is: www.breathingroom.faithweb.com.
This article was originally published in the May/Jun '04 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. For more information, visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com.